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What Happens When You Buy a House with Open Permits in Colorado?

House with Open permits

Buying a house with open permits can be a nightmare when buying a new home. When a homeowner requests a permit with the county or local government in Colorado, the permit stays with the property. So, it becomes the responsibility of the buyer upon sale.

Why do you need permits?

Home improvements and remodeling projects often require permits from the county and local governments. For example, in El Paso County, Colorado, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issues building permits. Work done without a license may not be up to code, and insurers might not cover the work. 

Simple cosmetic improvements like painting and carpeting usually don’t require permits. However, major renovation projects do require a permit. If you are unsure, check with the building department.

  • HVAC systems
  • Fireplaces and stove
  • Furnaces, boilers, and water heaters
  • Finishing basements
  • Decks and porches
  • In-ground Pools
  • Roofing 
  • Additional rooms 
  • Detached structures

What are open permits?

Once someone obtains permission for construction, it remains open until the work passes the final inspection. The building department keeps track of which buildings have permits for construction and renovation. Homeowners can always check the status on the building department’s website. If the work doesn’t pass inspection or the paperwork is incorrect, the file remains open.

Buying a House with Open Permits

Permits stay with the property. So, if you buy a home with open permits, you become the responsible party. While unfinished work doesn’t affect the title, it can cost time and money down the road. For example, you won’t be approved for additional construction work until the first one is closed. 

How can I search for open permits in El Paso County?

Fortunately, there is an easy way to check on permit status. Pikes Peak Regional Building Department’s website has an easy search function. Just type in the address and see if there are any outstanding permits. It’s always a good idea to do a quick search before closing on a home.

Closing Permits

If you discover a previously unknown permit on your home, you can get a contractor to finish the work, or talk to the Pikes Peak Regional Building department to do it yourself. Still, not everyone knows to run a search for open permits before closing on a home. At First Priority Home Inspections, we are here to help make sure there are no unwanted surprises when buying a new home. So, we run a permit search on every home we inspect. Give us a call at 719-491-1520.

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